The Espirito Santo Group, founded by the Espirito Santo family, is a Portugese holding company with a large number of companies that operate in various areas of the Portuguese economy. One of these businesses, the bank Banco Espirito Santo (BES) raised EUR 1 billion through a public offering in May 2014. A few months later, on 30 July 2014, BES reported a EUR 3.5 billion net loss. This led to Banco de Portugal’s decision of 3 August 2014 to split BES into a good bank and a bad bank to save the healthy assets and isolate any toxic assets. BES shares have lost their entire value and trading in BES shares has now been suspended.
At Deminor, we focused our investigation on the information disclosed by BES during the IPO in May 2014. Following this investigation, we concluded that the company withheld material information about risks regarding the bank’s direct and indirect exposure to other companies in the group and its financial situation.
Some of the Espirito Santo Group’s companies filed for creditor protection in the weeks following the public offering while others became subject to regulatory interventions. The EUR 3.5 billion net loss was caused by EUR 4.2 billion of impairments, provisions and losses related to its exposure to the Group and other matters that had not been disclosed before.
In January 2015, we filed a claim for damages based on prospectus liability before the Court of Commerce in Lisbon on behalf of our clients.